Saturday Squeeze

Thought I might just squeeze in a little something before time to start the weekend dysfunction chore list.

CHORE LIST

1) Give the dogs a bath.  Worst pet related task.

IMG_4153filthy beasts

2) Give the husband a haircut.  (After paying good money for him to get assaulted by licensed professionals, I’m back on the job.)

3) Pick up dog doo in the backyard. I can delegate this.

4) Rake.  All the autumn leaves?  Never touched.  Not one time.  Not by anyone. They’re getting gross. Today is the day.

5) Wrangle children.  When there is work on, it’s like trying to give a cat a bath.  You can make them participate, but not without bloodshed.

That should about kill it for Saturday.  Before I explode onto the list; by myself because the guys have the March Madness Elusiveness Syndrome…I thought I’d flick a little randomness on you.

RANDOMNESS

1) Instagram was worth the wait. A picture is worth 1000 words.  You know how I love 1000 words.  It forces me to look for the beauty in my life.

2) It’s time to start thinking about next year’s homeschool.  Which makes me panic about this year’s finish up.  Be glad you are not my child.  If you are having a bad day, you could always think, “My mom isn’t about to drop the hammer on me.”

3) Next year’s subjects.  Should be their senior year. A couple of moms at last night’s mandatory co-op meeting were trying to talk me into making the girls take a fifth year of high school.  Why?  I found myself walking away, shouting (Yes.  Shouting), “They need to GROW UP!!!”

4) Mickey fixed the dryer last Saturday.  I’d been trying to do the hanging up to dry thing for about three weeks.  It saves money, the environment, and something else.  Man alive, is it a lot of work.  I am so grateful for that dryer.

IMG_2561#envirofail

5) It seems young girls can survive on air and a crush.

6) It seems that little boys can survive on basketball and a lot of food.  When the grubby little dirt ball is not in front of the TV, he is outside with a sad, worn out basketball.  The good basketball won’t hold air, and the cheap one has a hernia where the valve is.  He has begun looking at my food before he finishes his own and asking if I think I’m gonna eat all that.

He’s 9.

7) If volleyball doesn’t start soon, Volleyball Girl is going to self-destruct and take the house down.  Every time there’s a volleyball reference, she glows.

IMG_1267Volleyball

8) We are not getting a puppy.  Or a kitty.  That is all.

9) It’s Spring and you know what that means…  That’s right.  It’s hair removal season.  There are five razors in the shower; three women live here. I’m pretty sure someone broke in the house and groomed a poodle in that shower last week.   I left the plumber a voicemail.

10) It’s Spring and you know what that means…  That’s right.  The sap is rising and something is blossoming.  Even it something is too fragile to be touched yet, it’s so heartwrenchingly gorgeous you could stand still in one place and just watch it grow all day.  Don’t miss it.

Crocus at UT Gardens

Crocus at UT Gardens

 

This is where it would be really cool if I had a blog thing with Benedryl.

 

 

 

Give Me Some Sugar

I have been off caffeine since June.  It was, and is, worth it.  I knew the next big hurdle would be sugar.  In late January and early February, I took a stab at quitting.  Right before Valentine’s Day.  That was just careless.

It stayed in front of me.  I knew I still needed to do it.  I know this sounds strange to say, but it seemed there was no jumping off point.  Then, there was.

Lent.

The Lenten Fast.

BOOM!

I quit sweets.  Not all the foods that have any ingredient that’s just sugar with a cute name.  Just sweets.

It only took a few days to come face to face with my need of a Savior.  I felt desperate.  I lied about what I ate.  (They don’t care, and Jesus already knows.)  I cheated like a card sharp in the old west.  I let myself slip.  A lot.

I realized I felt I couldn’t live without sugar (People do.  It isn’t air.).  Then I realized there are a lot of things I can’t live without

And.

There are a lot of things I have been saying I can live without…that I can’t.

BOOM.

Yes, I have a lot of idols.  (Anything you feel you can’t live without.)  I’m also holding myself prisoner in a lot of ways, too.  Depriving myself of things God says are good. Going hungry at my Father’s table.  Thirsty, at the source of Living Water.

Who do I think I am?

Imagine you provide delicious food for your child and she sits in the chair and feels the hunger pains and doesn’t eat.

How does that make you feel?

Really freaking sad. Right?

You love her and you want her to be healthy and you want her to enjoy the things that you provide with just her in mind.

That may be confusing, but I’m not talking about the sugar anymore.

I’m talking about seeing my need of a Savior.

Seeing how much the Father loves me.

About nothing I could have anticipated or imagined.

 

~disclaimer:  I’m uncomfortable writing while in the middle because I’m not sure that you’re supposed to talk about the things you do spiritually.  But I felt led for some reason today.  And Lent is not in the Bible.  It’s a church observance.  So… Please forgive my continued clumsiness, in any case.~

 

 

 

 

 

 

They Weren’t Hypocrites When They Got Here

A common objection to the Gospel of Christ is:

CHURCH IS FULL OF HYPOCRITES.

I wish there were another word, because this one makes me thing of Cockroaches.  Don’t ask me why. It has since I was little.

I digress.

Cockroaches.  I mean, hypocrites.

Yes, the church is full of them.  Because, as with every place you go, your business there is not necessarily about your “business”.  Meaning, say, you are a hiker.  And your dry cleaner is a hiker. When you go into the dry cleaners, he knows you’re there to pick up your pants.  You do business for years without ever finding out that you have the interest in common.  Unless you see him on the trail. Because you aren’t there to discuss your hobbies, you are there to do business.

When you are in church, you are there to worship, God, fellowship with others, be equipped to live out your faith.

Not air your dirty laundry.

We are ordinary human beings, no more able to attain to our ideals, than to leap off the roof and fly.

When someone objects to consorting with people who are not living what they believe, they are rejecting the man in the mirror.

Who does Jesus love more?  The guy who never makes a mistake?  Or the guy who can own his @#$%?  The sinner?  Or the guy who thinks he isn’t one?

The Bible is conclusive.  Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  He died for our sins.  Not our excuses, not our rationalizations,or good reasons.  My children will put me in an early grave telling me the ‘good reasons’ they don’t need to do what I say, the way I say to freaking do it. How God must feel when we do the same to Him?

The church is called the Body of Christ.  The body, at least where I live, is sick.  It’s members are plagued.  Living lives of pain and degradation, while showing up every Sunday and making fashionable, interesting, competitive, Christian chatter.

We’re shaving, showing up, and shmiling.  Sitting the pew.  Dying on the inside.

I’m an oddball.  My business is usually out there.  I’m constitutionally unable to act fine when I’m crumbling. Dealing with stuff head on.    People don’t like that.

2013 sucked. I found out about a lot of hurting people.

A.  Lot.

Not just the messy public ones.

Lots of men.  Who are supposed to be initiators, protectors, leaders.

Lots of kids.  Who we’re supposed to be loving and teaching the way to go.

We didn’t start out as hypocrites, but somewhere along the line, we forgot Jesus, like Billy Joel, preferred the sinners for dinner companions.*

That the prodigal’s dad was waiting for him to come home.  To party.

That the prodigal guy was sick of his sin.  A real hypocrite isn’t.

At our house, we don’t act like it didn’t happen.  If I yelled at Mickey, I yelled.  If I threw a book, I threw it.  If they told me they hated me, I said, “I know, but we’re talking about chores, right now.”

I get the impression that isn’t what’s going on around the community.

Kids are feeling like it’s burdensome and uncool to do what Jesus did.  Act out of love for the Father and others.  All the time.

Hypocrite?  That’s God’s call.

Sinner.  Yeah.*

The fault line is under pressure.  The tremors are coming.

We are about to get shook.

Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Wisdom I’ve Gained…In All the Same Areas My Mother Did…

Mom and Grandma told me that “nothing jiggles” on a lady.  Or at least it shouldn’t.

At that time, the information was of no use to me, as I was 5’2″ and weighed 95 lbs. soaking wet.

I think you’d agree, time keeps slipping into the future.

Today, the opposite is true.  The absence of jiggle is also not any mark of a lady.  The presence of jiggle is not a way of separating the ladies from the women or broads.

I am also no longer 5’2″…

Fashion trended away from “leave a little something to the imagination”.

Fashion, that excellent slave–that terrible master.

Has driven culture to the point that Southern Living Magazine would devote a half page of copy space for a young writer to apologize and explain her reasons for appearing in ankle socks elsewhere in the issue*.  As if they would lose readers, if there were not some sort of editorial responsibility taken when a young woman keeps her toes clean and safe as she learns to fly on the trapeze.

I digress.

Discreet fashion choices that emphasize strengths and downplay weakness is out of the question.  Utility and appropriateness to the event or activity is relative.

Maybe it’s my home training, but I don’t think of the trends as my “right”.  If it shows me for what I am, I figure I don’t need to make my problem yours, and I cover myself. Vanity?  Heck, YEAH!!! But I’m leaving my struggle with chronic pain, depression, and gravy to your imagination.

My point?  Years ago, in an effort to prevent “jiggle” and “leave it to the imagination”, a woman had an arsenal of “FOUNDATIONS”.  The girdle has gone by the wayside.  Unstylish.  Unattractive.  Indicative of some sort of bondage….  Today, a young woman would never admit to wearing a girdle to cheat her way into a garment that is really made for a different body type.  Because they are a thing of the past.

Today, we have “shapers”.  Spanx.

Because those aren’t girdles.

Yes, they are.  Spanx are girdles.  Just say it.  Don’t apologize.

You are wearing Jane Jetson’s girdle.

There you go.  The emperor is now free to put his pants back on and look better in them.

 

*About 5 years ago, before Lindsey Biermann took over and turned it into Hipster Living. I subscribe and complain every month.  Mickey thinks it’s PMS.

 

 

My Politics

The presidential election is bearing down on us in less than eight weeks.  Everyone’s on TV acting like the Republicans have a chance.  Like it’s a race.

I don’t know anyone who’s excited about Romney.  I kinda feel sorry for him.  To be running when we all kinda know.  It’s not gonna happen.

That’s just my feelings.  My politics are different.

AN ACCIDENTAL GUIDE TO GETTING OVER MYSELF IN AN ELECTION YEAR

1) No one runs for President thinking, “I’ll be friendly til I get in, and then I’ll destroy it and go down in history as ‘that guy’.”

2) Ultimately, we all want the same things. To live life now, plan for the future and have a little something left to enjoy ourselves a little.  My friends who are philosophically at the other end of the continuum, think the order of priorities is different than I do. That’s all.

3) My life is largely determined by what I do with what I have.  Time, money, health, and education.  Who has been president hasn’t made a lot of difference in that.  He can’t make me be wise with what I have.  He can’t prevent me from being irresponsible.

4) When Bill Clinton was elected the first time, I was teaching in a private Christian school.  On Wednesday morning, I had first graders coming into the classroom crying because it was the end of America (If every guy, who did his job pretty well and had time leftover to get up to no good was the anti-Christ, we’d need an internet database to keep up with them all).

Really, Mom and Dad? Really?

Is that what Jesus would do?

No.

(for extra credit: guess why I don’t teach in a private Christian school)

5) A president is more than his stance on my pet issue.  I want the adoption tax credit to be extended.  Some people have sons in Afghanistan.  Some have children who have medical needs that are no longer covered by  insurance.  Some have children with special learning needs and their district doesn’t have enough resources in special education.

What I need more than a president who agrees with me, is a president who displays character and consistency.

I think either political party would be happy for me to vote, based solely on my pet issue as long as I vote for them.

6) It’s not worth it to me to break relationships.  In the end, whomever we elect is not coming over for Thanksgiving and we don’t have to see them every week.

7) I wouldn’t want to be president.  The secrets they have to know.  The burden of making decisions that will change the course of history, right or wrong.  I respect anyone who is willing to take it on.

8) I have only one vote.   You have only one vote.   I respect your right to decide based on lots of study, his or her position on your issue, or his or her membership in your party.  It’s your vote.

9) We live in a privileged country.  With privilege comes responsibility.  My privilege. My responsibility.  We live in a country with a dream named after it.  It’s the dream of freedom to work to become what you want.  And to help others do the same.

10) We are not each other’s enemies.

 

Music Shapes Minds and Hearts

,A week month or so ago, Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy asked a question on Facebook:

“Let’s talk song lyrics. What do you do about sexually suggestive song lyrics when they come on the radio? For example, Flo Rida’s new song Whistle, Katy Perry’s Peacock, DEV’s Dancing in the Dark. Do you change the station? Tell your kids they can’t listen because it is inappropriate? Does that open up the door for more questions? How do you explain it is inappropriate? Or do you just hope that they don’t figure out the meaning or start singing it in the produce aisle at the grocery store?

I started by trying to listen to the link to a video that Jennifer had provided.  Oops.  That’s not one I would even listen to with the kids in the room. By the time I scrambled to stop it, 24 seconds had passed.  Plenty of time.

Whistle, indeed.  It was an oral sex tutorial.

My simple answer: I turn it off.

Is anything that simple?  When your children are small, maybe you can turn it off and if they protest, say,”What?  Oh.  I wasn’t paying attention to the song. I’m just trying to find a station with the weather on.”

Not here.  Not anymore.

When I was a kid, we listened to the radio, a lot.  My husband’s favorite freakish gift of mine is that I have a nearly complete catalog of 1970s pop lyrics in my head, accessible at any time.  Off the top of my head, I can list several that are about  intercourse, oral sex, or masturbation–all hits on the Adult Contemprary Top 40 before 1985.

 I went around singing whatever was on. I wonder what boys thought.  I wonder what random men in public places thought.  I don’t wonder much.  Neither, do I wonder, now that I am an adult, familiar with idiom and euphemism, what men think, when my daughters sing along to the greatest hits of their time.

Periodically, I take the lyric of a song and parce it out for my daughters. They hate this.

Yet, I’ve noticed, if they are listening to the AC station regularly, they become even more oppositional, even more self-centered, and begin to dress with less regard to fashion or self-respect.

Some songs have to do with suicide, stalking, infidelity or one night stands. The middle ground is selfish, self-centeredness and inflated ego, mixed with tales of co-dependency and a search for meaning in mediocrity.

We become what our hearts meditate on.

It’s a parent’s privilege, not only to guard their children from too much information too soon, but also to grow those people’s hearts into unselfish, hard-working, imaginative, healthy adults.

Trouble is, the radio station is marketing to young adults aged 18-24, and they like it dirty.

The strategy that works best in our home is a full toolbox:

–Ask them to turn it off.

–If it’s my option, I turn it off.

–If it’s somewhere that the radio doesn’t belong to us– a)distract,  b)re-direct, or c)leave the area.

— “Please don’t sing that song. I know it’s just a catchy tune, but it says two things and one of them is not nice.”

“What, Mommy?”

“You don’t need to know.  You just have to trust me.”

Just like God says to me, when He asks me to relinquish something mediocre for an excellent promise I will not receive until much later.

Just Slip This Into the Anglo-File

You know, I’m susceptible to the charms of English culture.  If we were into labels, we might call me an Anglophile.

In the early 90s, I used to sit in the wingback, sipping tea.  While BBC on PBS laughed at itself on TV, I could watch the dirty, little city washed in slow rain through the bay window.  The children took all that quiet time on Saturday night away.

I like tea (For awhile it was a big deal.  Like tea rooms and throwing “teas” instead of showers, receptions, or brunches.). It’s some comfort in a cup.

Add in boy bands, li’l divers, and Olympic coverage.

Add We-only-got-an-episode-and-a-half-of-Downton-Abbey-before-the-end-of-the-season-Whatemahgondoo?

Add That Great Movie We Saw On Our Anniversary.

And this:

Creative Commons Images: Flikr

Sherlock Holmes. Set in “Of the moment” London, some of the original titles and a multitude of details of the original stories are included in edge-of-your-seat, hour-long mysteries.  The final episode of the second season is to be continued…  IN 2013!

There is a sleek, post-modern, coldness about the visual.  Probably intended to convey some theme-driven effect.  Whatever.  The stories are engaging.  The twists and turns, totally unpredictable (Mostly).  This is the first time I’ve seen Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Sherlock, but my girls were familiar with his work(???).   Dr. Watson is played by Martin Freeman, who’ll play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

It seems there is controversy about Cumberbatch’s appearance.  Some think he’s handsome and some don’t.  Initially, I found him unattractive.  But he just kept talking.

And talking.

It’s an extremely sexy show.  Not because stories are about sex (except the one, amazing, do-NOT-let-your-children-watch-it episode*), but because the script is razor sharp.  It takes my logophilic breath away.

“What did he say? Go back!Go back!Go back!Go back!”

Yes, the family gets tired of my shtick.  But it’s so…

Smart.

Brits!!!  What makes them so terribly…just so?

All the tea?

What are you looking forward to the next season’s shows?

 

*there is another episode where there are short moments of snarling dogs.  I’d use caution with allowing smaller kids around the TV.  They won’t be getting story, but the images might disturb.

The story about sex has a scene where the actress is completely naked, shown from behind or from the front, seated and placing her riding crop strategically.  Our most conservative friend enjoyed it.

It’s Almost Back to School Time

I am writing about things I want my kids to have when they go back to school, beyond new markers and jeans.

In my guest post at Mom It Forward.

Today.

Mom It Forward Contributor

Please, go look.

Tell me what you think.

Yesterday’s Music, Tomorrow’s Dance

If you’ve been following along, SOMEBODY hates a cliche.  That same somebody, is one.

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Maggie is having a mid-life crisis.

As we left our heroine, she was apologizing to the mother of a grown man for the accuracy of her remaining vision-the simple ability to discern an attractive adult male from a troll in the visual field.  Having forgotten almost entirely that the man in question is 10 months older than someone she’s been shooing away from her daughter for a year. She joined her 15 year-olds watching interviews on You Tube.*

Finally registering the distant sound of tires screeching and horns blaring.

HEY MAGGIE.  IT’S GONE.  THERE IS NO GOING BACK.  Step back and look, Darling.  No one will ever sing to you again about your flipping hair.  You worry about being that mom who is acting like her teen.  This is her.  She thought she’d take a break in the fun to raise some kids and then go back to charging around being spontaneous and irresistible.  Now her kids are approaching that time in their lives, she’s thinking she’ll just dust off her dance moves and join the fun.

Then she takes a new picture.

And. Sees. Her….  Jowls.

No, that wasn’t her, that was me.

Let’s tally up the score.

1) Face it.  You aren’t getting around like you used to.

2) You are old enough to be the ‘cool aunt’ for people who own their own homes.

3) You are appalled by little kids singing, “we-broke-up-but-Imma-stalk-you-or-you-stalk-me-K?” songs.

4) You keep thinking you’ll get back down to the weight you were in college.  No, Girl. You need that last ten pounds to fill in the loose skin.

5) Barring accident or injury, you are halfway to death.

6) Go quietly.

Back in my time, we had a saying,…

“Like hell.”

ACCIDENTAL MANIFESTO FOR THE SECOND ACT

Grow up. Stop thinking magic works like that.  Magic happens when the callouses on your work-hardened hands click together and make sparks.

You can’t be the cool grandma, when the time comes, if the baby gets scratched on your navel ring**.

Nothing is as sexy as dignity.

 

By the time you were your daughters’ age, you were managing your life.

Stop complaining about them expecting to be waited on, if you won’t let them do the job.

All your “reasons” are legit.  If you don’t move on, they become “excuses”.

Do NOT pass that on to your kids.

Quit being vain.  Take care of your appearance.

If you won’t exercise because you’re embarrassed, the arthritis will come for you.

If you won’t take care of your skin and hair because of money or time or “those products don’t really work”,

the mirror will not pull any punches. Don’t complain about the lighting.

Get over your boobs.  No one cares.

There’s no promise you’ll get to keep them.  Appreciate them.

Keep them under control, but don’t apologize.

Dance.

Work.

Feel Beautiful.

Love.

This second act, unlike the first, which was largely written by others, must be entered on purpose.

Head up, eyes open.  Because you learned in the first act what you can trip over.

Enter strong.

This is when the reviews are written.

 

* If you are dancing in the 100th row, with a phone you just fished out of Chelsea’s Sprite, the video sucks; be ashamed to upload it.

**This is not to say I’ve ruled out the navel ring, but there will be no ink and a granny must categorically never sport a bare midriff.

***photos have been removed because I can’t

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning. Ish.

Good Morning.  I guess no matter where you are on earth… Monday morning is a beginning.  I suppose there may be a tribal people living on the top of a mountain in South America who begin their week on Thursday, but more than likely, they are not reading this.

Already digressing and it’s not even 8.

Technically, this is the second to the last week of the school year. Tennessee school year runs from July 1 to July 30.  We didn’t do it.  We failed.  And all three of us get to experience the consequences.  We are taking Algebra again.  Maybe Science.  Next year is going to be a Son of a Gun.  I am not apologizing to them.  They are supers.  We should have been done in March.  As it is.  They will be completing two Maths next year and possibly two Sciences.  HA.  With a 4.0.

I have been listening to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on cd from the library.  Far from being awful to me,  I find her to be a mom with an inspirational life.  Mistakes? Obviously.  Wrong for expecting kids to achieve what they are able to?  No.  Humble?  Now, yes.  Telling anyone else what to do? No.

It’s a shame her 13 year-old wore her down.  Even the girls were in the back seat yelling, “She’s 13. Don’t listen to her!”  They should know.

I fully expect these same children to be writing fan letters to that little girl by Columbus Day.

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post.  Complacency or something worse has blinded me to the gradual wearing away of standards in school, behavior, appearance, speech, dress, home keeping, fiinancial management and spiritual life.  Little by little, I have said,”Why does it have to be done, “one way or the other”?” Until nothing is being done any way.  And I’ve tried to make everyone but myself responsible.

So with my head still pounding, I will call the doctor, then the director of the independent study program.

I can pay bills.  Yay. I don’t anticipate that this will get old anytime soon.  We have gotten through all the birthdays and celebrations and are now 9see above0 going on a very strict budget for the purpose of financial recovery. We are also going to  change banks.  After six years of struggle.  I have spared you the banking drama.  It has now become cost effective to move. And it’s consistent with our new financial attitude…

The local homeschool fest is this week.  I guess I am going. Meh.  I need a few things. I have to squeeze it in Friday, before…

I am hoping to drive over to Nashville this weekend to meet with friends.  I guess.  I am so homesick and it won’t be enough.  I know what will happen.  We will be so hungry and thirsty for fellowship when we leave.  We’ll dream about moving [again] for weeks afterward.

Good Monday Morning to you.  Where ever you are.  Enjoy you fresh new week.  What are you going to do with it?

 

 

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